For several years now, I have shunned New Year’s resolutions and instead opted for a “one-word theme” that would guide the twelve months ahead.
Last year, my word was GOOD and it proved a perfect choice. Over the course of 2016, many challenges arose from personal stress to political upheaval in both of my countries; it was quite helpful to have the reminder to look for the GOOD and focus on doing GOOD even as things around me weren’t always wonderful. I will be keeping this word around for a long time.
And so many GOOD things happened this past year, too!
My daughter, of course, is the highlight of everything GOOD, and watching her turn into a pint-sized, bilingual scamp has been a true joy. She even started sleeping through the night right around her third birthday in October. Huzzah! A day I feared would never come.
One of the highlights of the year was a wonderful trip to central Italy with then 2.5-year-old Marisa. On the way up, we had a quick stopover in Rome, so we got to meet with Eleonora of Casa Mia Italy Food & Wine Tours, whom I hadn’t seen since 2012.
Then, in Assisi, I met a few longtime online friends in person for the first time: Jessica of Italy Explained, Judith, and Rebecca of Brigolante, who generously offered up her spectacular, centrally located apartment in Assisi for our lodging.
Check out this view from the apartment:
Assisi is an exceedingly lovely place to visit, and I’d recommend a few days here to really give yourself time to duck in and out of the little streets and shops as well as visit the popular sites, like the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi:
Here is the kid with the fake camera she made me buy, sizing up the scenery outside the Basilica:
The Eremo dei Carceri — the hermitage — of St. Francis of Assisi, located on a hill outside the town center, is a must-see:
Then, not even a Trenitalia strike could stop the GOOD as we headed up to Florence. I absolutely fell in love with the city.
Look at this adorable Florentine cappuccino:
There, I also got to meet two other previously only online friends: Jennifer Criswell, with whom I worked closely on her fabulous book, At Least You’re in Tuscany, and another (blogless) friend and her daughter (hi A and M!).
With these lovely ladies, Marisa and I got our beef fix — first with a hamburger and homemade chips with Jen at Drogheria (just OK) and then the famous, must-try fiorentino steak (and *fabulous* rigatoni) with A and M at 13 Gobbi. Highly recommended!
Marisa and I stayed in a sweet AirBnB apartment just a short walk from the superb Koto Ramen and awe-inspiring Santa Croce (*swoon*) with my bestie Laura of Ciao Amalfi, who Marisa nicknamed Miss Pommel (of “My Little Pony” fame) for reasons only the toddler understands.
We had such an absolutely amazing time with Miss Pommel, it’s impossible to pick a favorite part. Getting caught in the rain on the Ponte Vecchio was probably not it, though our GOOD luck put us literally in front of an umbrella stand when the drops began to fall, so it wasn’t so bad after all.
Ooh, Dim Sum! That was pretty darn GOOD, too. Man, we ate well in Firenze.
Here’s the young lass chasing pigeons around the Duomo and Baptistery:
The Duomo peeking through the streets:
A couple months later, Marisa and I set off for the United States to visit my family in Pennsylvania, where she especially bonded with her cousin, Mia (Mimi, according to Marisa). We spent lots of time with extended family and in the pool and at nearby Knoebel’s Amusement Resort (where I met another longtime online friend and her daughter who drove all the way from Ohio to meet us — hi B and S!).
We even managed to get in some goat petties at a local wildlife park, Lake Tobias:
Over the summer, I also self-published my book, 52 Things to See & Do in Calabria, and then in November, I wrote 50,000 words in the first book of a cozy mystery series. I have since added a whole bunch more and am currently working on edits; I hope to get this book released within the next few months, so stay tuned!
And then the end of the year. Whoo boy.
Well, it was an emotional roller coaster with the election in the United States occupying most of my psyche, but — looking on the bright side — it also inspired me to get more involved in causes that are near and dear to my heart, so that’s a GOOD thing, too.
And now, finally – *deep breath* – it’s time to introduce the new word. Yes, I know it’s mid-February. How did *that* happen, by the way?!
Anyway, rest assured, this word has been guiding me already even though I hadn’t published it yet here. Without further ado . . .
My One-Word Theme for 2017: FORWARD
Yes? Same here.
I love the excitement of starting something new and planning it all out and then digging in and seeing progress. People like us, though, we can get a bad rap for being serial starters and hardly ever finishing anything. Maybe it’s not even other people who label you as such — maybe it’s you, yourself.
First of all, I’m going to go ahead and say that finishing isn’t everything. Sometimes a project pushes other, better ideas to the forefront — ones that wouldn’t have occurred to you had you not set off on the initial journey.
As the mommy of a spirited toddler who is hardly ever out of my sight it’s easy to get caught up in endless to-do lists and feel like I’m not doing enough. In fact, another candidate for my one-word theme this year was ENOUGH, to remind myself that I am, in fact, enough, that I have enough, and that I’m doing enough.
But I couldn’t shake this word, FORWARD.
It’s so important, especially for those of us who like to start things, to keep moving FORWARD. To take even baby steps toward what we want to accomplish. Baby steps add up!
Losing momentum happens to all of us and for various reasons, but I do believe that if we keep looking FORWARD and moving FORWARD, eventually that momentum will come back. It may not return in the exact way we had planned or even would have wanted, but we need that FORWARD motion to get us moving again.
And I want to remind myself of that this year. I need to. Often.
Another aspect of FORWARD that I intend to channel is being more FORWARD, asking for what I want. Going out there and seeking out new opportunities and making people say “no.” After all, they just might say “yes,” right?
So, yes, I’m intending to move FORWARD and be FORWARD this year.
How about you?
Do you have a one-word theme?
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